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Winter 2011

Bob the Beagle

by Pat Hamit

Snowball Bob
A normal dog’s sense of smell is remarkable. However, experts say that a hound dog’s nose goes far beyond that of a typical dog. Most humans cannot comprehend the extent of a hound dog’s ability to smell. I am told that these scent driven K-9s can distinguish a specific scent from a mixture of aromas or odors. I was intrigued to learn that they are using Beagles to detect bedbugs in hotels and motels. Beagles are used in and around the general flying public to detect contraband at airports because they are not intimidating to the average person like a Rottweiler or Doberman might be. Nobody that I know is threatened by a Beagle. With that information, I’m thinking about signing Bobby up for our next trip.

After the first significant snow of the Bobster’s young life we all went outside to see his reaction to this new found weather phenomenon. He was ecstatic. What a joy to watch him run and romp from one snow drift to another. The grand-girls amused themselves by keeping young Mr. Bob occupied with snowdrifts that were over his head. Bobby would plow into the snowdrift, bulldoze his way out and then do it all over again. He was overjoyed with this new discovery that his humans called snow. The adventure and fun was unlimited.

I tossed a snowball into a snow drift and sure enough Bob goes into fetch mode. Running to the appropriate snow drift he finds the hole made by the frozen projectile and comes to an abrupt stop. Now what? There is a slight hesitation for a moment of contemplation before he bores into the snowdrift with his front paws digging as fast as he can. His is head half buried in a snow drift and snow coming out of the hole he is digging in quantities that would rival my neighbor’s snow blower.

I can’t believe it. He is actually trying to find a snowball buried in a snowdrift. Smart money says there is no way this is ever going to happen but this dog is totally focused. By now he is half way into the snow bank and only his back half is sticking out of the drift. Compared to the size of the dog, snow is still coming out of the hole in huge quantities when suddenly it stops. Finally, he has given up and is backing out of his newly dug snow cave. What a surprise! In his mouth is what might be THE snowball. Is it THE snowball? I don’t know, but I like to think that it is. I am learning not to underestimate the Bobster’s hound dog capabilities.

After sufficient time to praise this determined pooch the grand girls are busy throwing snowballs into snowdrifts and Bobby is one busy Beagle. This is going to be one tired puppy and he should sleep well tonight.

What fun and no overshoes, or snow suit are required!

Progress Report
The Pack Leader is still working on getting Roberto to shake hands. It is not unusual to hear her giving him commands like: “No, shake. No! Now sit! Now shake.” Her effort is rewarded with an eye locking stare down and the Beagle isn’t blinking. There is not even a hint of cooperation going on here. No wonder this hard headed dog fits into our family so well.

Since he is not about to shake hands in the conventional manner, I decided to try something different. I’m attempting to get Bob to shake but with one of his back legs, not the more traditional right front paw. One of my life’s mottos has always been, “Why be normal?” So, while working on developing this doggie trick with the Bobster, it occurs to me that if I’m successful in getting him to raise his hind leg when asked to shake, it could be a message that might be misunderstood. Can you guess what kind of a reaction a neighbor, friend or our minister might have when they ask Bobby to shake hands and he hikes up his hind leg? I’m almost certain they would get the wrong impression. While I’ve decided to shelve this project the mental picture of what could have been keeps me chuckling to myself. If Bobby wasn’t such a blockhead we could have had some fun.

All of this effort is a moot point; this determined dog is not going to shake hands.

Sharing the Doghouse
One of the greatest things about having a dog is their listening skills. In Bob’s case, we are not talking about calling him to you or recalling him when his hound dog nose leads him off into the great unknown. However, Bob, like most all dogs, has that unique ability to listen to his master as he ponders and pontificates out loud.

The most beneficial aspect of talking to the dog is that he doesn’t have an opinion one way or the other on the subject at hand. It doesn’t matter if I’m right or wrong on any particular issue, he does not pass judgment. He just does what dogs do, that is, he offers unconditional love and loyalty to his human companion while wondering how soon until dinner.

Some of you may think it is a little bizarre that I talk to the Bobmiester as if he understood every word no matter how complex the problem, but as I said, why be normal? Topics can range from a bad day at work to more complex dilemmas like what in the world Bob’s Pack Leader, my wife, was thinking about on most any given domestic issue. The only subject we don’t discuss is politics. On political issues, I have a tendency to be somewhat dogmatic, (Pun intended. Sorry.) Bobby’s attention span is only good for so long, so we just don’t go there. Besides, while Bob is a good dog, he is just a little too liberal on some issues. He believes that chew bones and Dingo treats are entitlements. We all wonder where he ever got that idea, don’t WE?

While talking to the dog can be therapeutic it can be a tactical tool as well. As both a wife and a mother, the Pack Leader is very adept at multi-tasking. It has been explained to me, repeatedly, if you’re not a wife, mother or woman, then you don’t understand the significance, necessity or skill required to multi-task. Since I am none of the three, I’m fairly certain that she is right, I don’t grasp that concept. To me multi-tasking means that several things have been started but nothing is finished. That “several things started and nothing is finished” thing just does not compute and it drives me crazy. This must be one of those Mars versus Venus issues which means it is far beyond my comprehension.

So, on most evenings I’ll find poor ol’ Bobby standing in the kitchen giving his utmost attention to the Pack Leader. His concentration is at Homeland Security alert level orange, which means his hound dog nose is in scan mode, his forehead is wrinkled and his wide brown eyes are glued to her every move as he emits an occasional low level whine like he is pinging her with his sonar; it is obvious that he is waiting for his dinner. His low level whine is combined with an occasional sigh just to remind her that he is still waiting.

Since Bob’s empty bowl is sitting on the kitchen counter, I have to assume that he is once again a victim of multi-tasking. Not wanting to be too quick to make assumptions, I ask him, “Bobby, are you STILL waiting for your dinner?” A simple question is all it takes; he immediately elevates his Homeland Security alert level to red. His patience with multi-tasking has totally evaporated as he blows his Beagle bugle at an ear splitting level.

Who would have thought that such a simple question could possibly cause such chaos? I can’t believe that Bob went off in that manner or that his response earned me such a dirty look from the Pack Leader, but it works nearly every time. I guess we all know this hound’s opinion on multi-tasking. Isn’t it amazing how much Bobby and I have in common? Even now we are sharing a special place in my wife’s imagination. It is called the doghouse!
In the meantime there is something in the yard that needs my immediate attention and I may have to run to the hardware store for something. . . . . I’m not sure what but, I’ll remember when I get there. Okay, bye!


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